Soldier, 36, killed in Syria is 1999 grad of Austin's Connally HS

WASHINGTON (KXAN and AP) - The American service member killed this week by a roadside bomb in northern Syria was a 36-year-old Army soldier from Texas, the Defense Department said Saturday.

Master Sgt. Jonathan J. Dunbar, of Austin, died Friday as a result of injuries suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his patrol in Manbij, Syria, not far from the border with Turkey. A Briton also was killed and five other people were wounded in Thursday's bombing — a rare attack since the U.S.-led coalition sent troops into the country.

He was born July 15, 1981, in International Falls, Minn., and graduated in 1999 from John B. Connally High School in Austin. Connally HS is part of the Pflugerville Independent School District but is located on North Lamar Boulevard in Austin.

Dunbar was assigned to the headquarters of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Manbij, a mixed Arab-Kurdish town, is under threat of a Turkish military operation. Ankara says the town is controlled by Syrian Kurdish militiamen that Turkish officials claim are "terrorists" and an extension of Kurdish insurgents inside Turkey.

A U.K. defense ministry spokesman said the British armed forces member was killed during an operation against the Islamic State group.

Dunbar is the fourth American service member to die in Syria since the U.S. began attacking Islamic State group militants there in September 2014, according to the Pentagon's Defense Casualty Analysis System.

The others were Air Force Staff Sgt. Austin Bieren, whose death was specifically labeled by the Pentagon as noncombat related; Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott C. Dayton, who was killed by an improved explosive device; and Army Spc. Etienne J. Murphy, who died in a vehicle rollover.

Dunbar first entered the United States Army as an Infantryman in May 2005, completing his initial entry training Fort Benning, Ga. His first assignment was with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he served as a Machine Gunner, Fire Team Leader, and Squad Leader.

During his tenure, he deployed once to Afghanistan and once to Iraq in support of combat operations. In November 2009, he transitioned to Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion,  38th Cavalry Regiment (Long Range Surveillance), Fort Hood, where he served for four years as a Squad Leader. During his time in Fort Hood, he deployed to Iraq once again in support of combat operations.

In 2013, Dunbar was assigned to Headquarters, United States Special Operations Command, where he served as a Team Member and deployed three times in support of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dunbar’s military education includes the Basic Airborne Course, Combat Lifesaver Course, Basic Leader Course, Ranger School, Advanced Leaders Course, Pathfinder Course, Static Line Jumpmaster Course, Advanced Land Navigation Course, Senior Leaders Course, the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Course, the Military Free Fall and Jumpmaster Course, and the Special Forces Sniper Course.

Dunbar’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (3rd Award), the Army Commendation Medal (4th Award), the Army Achievement Medal (6th Award), the Good Conduct Medal (5th Award), the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with 2 Bronze Service Stars, the Iraq Campaign Medal with 2 Bronze Service Stars, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with Numeral 3, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon (2nd award), the NATO Medal, the Ranger Tab, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Pathfinder Badge, the Military Freefall Jumpmaster Badge and the Parachutist Badge.

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